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Microsoft Invests In A New AI For Health Initiative

Source: Forbes as of 28-02-2020

As one of the richest people in the world, Bill Gates is known for contributing to global health through the Gates Foundation. As his biggest legacy, Microsoft is also moving in the same direction. The company is actively involved in helping the world’s population overcome some of the most challenging health problems and concerns.

Microsoft recently announced a new healthcare initiative known as “AI for Health,” a program worth over 40 million dollars. AI for Health evolved out of the AI for Good Program, which offers general aid to the less fortunate around the world.

The new initiative will primarily focus on health-related problems and the integration of AI and tech solutions. The main goal behind AI for Health is to directly research the impact of AI in the medical field, as well as develop algorithms for automatic detection of diseases and other medical operations. Besides building new solutions, the program will also work toward making these technologies more available worldwide.

AI for Health is a philanthropic initiative that complements our broader work in Microsoft Healthcare. We will support specific nonprofits and academic collaboration with Microsoft’s leading data scientists, access to best-in-class AI tools and cloud computing, and select cash grants,” wrote Microsoft’s John Kahan in the official announcement of the new initiative.

How AI Can Aid the Healthcare Industry

Even to this day, underdeveloped countries are very far from being able to afford and implement AI technology in medical treatments. There is no doubt that modern healthcare solutions are distributed unevenly, leaving the population of some countries to die of diseases that don’t even exist in modern countries anymore.

Even though AI cannot directly aid in distributing healthcare evenly, research in this field can help provide more affordable solutions. For example, AI can be used to build reliable screening systems for disease detection, more specifically for diabetic retinopathy which leads to blindness if not treated in time. AI-based systems would serve as cheaper and easier diagnostic processes for patients around the world.

Microsoft’s program aims to encourage the best experts in the field to actively help engineer and deploy such solutions. There is no doubt that the company’s monetary investment is going to help push this project to the right direction. The company has already made several important partnerships with parties that can benefit from this research.

The AI-oriented research will look for solutions for various diseases and issues including tuberculosis, maternal mortality, and even cancer. It is also important to mention that Microsoft has decided that the new initiative won’t be open for public organizations. Instead, it will be working directly with the privately chosen non profits and research organizations.


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